Crianlarich Primary – Maths Trailblazers

15 October 2017 · 4 comments

in Maths Outdoors, Urban, Whole School

Post image for Crianlarich Primary – Maths Trailblazers

This guest blog post is courtesy of Crianlarich Primary School. Back in September, I had the privilege of working with the school for a morning to kickstart using their school grounds and local environment for raising attainment in maths.

How would use this maths tarp? Most children end up with throwing games.

Very often it’s hard to imagine how a trainer’s work transfers into a classroom context. For those of you who have attended my training days, will immediately recognise the resources and what I’m doing. For those of you who haven’t, then enjoy browsing all the maths posts as this will give you a flavour of how I use natural, home-made and found manipulative materials in an outdoor context. 

One-metre maths sticks. An essential resource for so many maths challenges.

Friday 22nd September saw a very different day at school! We ENJOYED THREE HOURS of Maths outside. It was FUN!

Practising our tables and counting using the one-metre maths sticks

What’s It All About?

Today we launched Maths Trailblazers, Mrs Lochhead’s unique project especially for Crianlarich PS. Earlier this year, Mrs Lochhead took part in the Raising Attainment Champions project. She submitted the Trailblazers idea and succesfully bid for funding. She was awarded £1500 for our school.The target is to raise attainment in Mental Maths and Maths overall for all children.

Silicone numbers – saves laminating and work brilliantly in different weathers.

Crianlarich on the map!

Teachers came from far and wide to learn too, today.

Crianlarich Primary School pupils were joined by Juliet Robertson of Creative STAR Learning, parents, all Crianlarich staff, educators from Killin and Crianlarich Nurseries, the Head Teacher of Dalmally School, Claire Peebles from Active Stirling and teachers from Killin and Strathyre Primary Schools.

Are those the Cosy rainbow sticks I spy?

Juliet worked her maths magic in the rain, helping children, staff and parents explore and work together with a variety of new resources. The idea was to get maths chats going and for children to learn and make up games and activities which encouraged maths problem solving. Children were encouraged to talk about their reasoning. They practised and learnt more number and maths topic knowledge.

Sammy the one-metre rope snake loves visiting different schools.

So, what will Trailblazers look like?… It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Numeracy Grab Bags

These are being made up now by Mrs Ramsay and her team. They will be full of fun things to try and available for children at playtimes and sometimes during maths lessons.

  1. Playground Elements

We’ll have things like a‘vortex’ , blank number ladders and other puzzles painted for children to play and practise on.

  1. Maths Trail

At a later date, we are planning a maths trail through the playground, using the sand area and platform with problems to solve which will involve community groups.

Number pebbles are a source of fascination for all ages.

And what’s next?

We might need parent help to collect and prepare resources.

We’re going to work with nursery through transition to play the games we make up. We hope we can help them with counting and number.

We’ll be asking community groups to write problems for us to solve.

Crime Scene Investigates… death in the playground…

Well done to all the children in Crianlarich for helping us to learn more about outdoor maths.  We all had a fabulous morning, despite a bit of rain.

Many thanks to PT Mrs Lochead who organised all of this, wrote the text and took the photos!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Masi October 16, 2017 at 11:43

I love these blog posts, but something that jumped out at me in this one was that all the children were dressed appropriately for the weather (rain jackets, rain boots, rain pants), but the adults were not. I could not identify any adults with rain pants on, and some were not even wearing rain boots. Adults who are dressed appropriately for the weather can behave less cautiously in terms of getting themselves immersed in the outdoor experience. At my school, Ridge and Valley Charter School (, in Blairstown, NJ (USA), all students AND guides (we call our teachers “guides”) are required to have the same outdoor gear, which allows for an outdoor experience which is more hands-on for everyone involved.


Juliet Robertson October 16, 2017 at 13:56

Hi Lisa

Thank you very much for your observations and attention to detail. A couple of things to note:
1. The day was warm and the rain was light for all but a short period of time.
2. I brought along a box of outdoor clothing for children who wanted to wear rain jackets and clothing and didn’t feel they had appropriate clothing. There was some adult sizes in the box too but the adults were happy with what they were wearing. It’s a rainy area so generally everyone is used to getting on with life amidst the rain and midges.
3. In the 3rd photo down from the top, you will see me – 3rd from the right wearing a purplely Berghaus rain jacket, black Gill all-weather sailing salopettes underneath and waterproof hiking boots. I felt overdressed for the conditions having anticipated the weather to be worse than what it actually was. But I love my salopettes for school work as they cope with getting grubby.

You are right about cautious adult behaviour and I’ve witnessed this so many times. Some settings such as the Stramash outdoor nurseries do all have an outdoor uniform, but others choose not to for various reasons – for example I’ve heard than in some Norwegian schools, staff are given a supplement to their salary to assist with the buying of outdoor clothing that meets their needs, style and preferences. My favourite were the all-in-one insulated boiler suits I saw in Iceland 🙂


Lisa Masi October 18, 2017 at 02:23

Thanks, Juliet. Photos obviously don’t tell the whole story and I appreciate your clarification. I love the blog — thanks for sharing and inspiring!


Juliet Robertson October 18, 2017 at 06:53

You’re welcome – I really liked your comment as it adds value to this post. 🙂


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